James’s Musings

thoughts, photography, and geeky stuff
from an unrelentingly curious Silicon Valley entrepreneur

A Post from 34,000 Feet

by James G. Beldock on September 22, 2008

I don’t blog about tech­nol­o­gy all that of­ten, but oc­ca­sion­al­ly some­thing ap­pears which is suf­fi­cient­ly ground-break­ing to mer­it a post. Blogging from 6.5 miles above the earth qual­i­fies.

It was a pleas­ant sur­prise to dis­cov­er that my American Airlines flight this evening from JFK to SFO is one of those graced with in-flight Internet ser­vice, cour­tesy of GoGo Inflight Internet (and a nice rev­enue-shar­ing deal with American Airlines, no doubt). It’s an even more pleas­ant sur­prise to re­port that the ser­vice is su­perb. I just test­ed my band­width and came up with a sur­pris­ing 2.4Mb down­stream (haven’t done an up­stream test, but I just emailed a 12Mb file to a col­league who got it rea­son­ably quick­ly).

To put it mild­ly, I sus­pect the­se ser­vices will have an im­me­di­ate and pro­found im­pact on my per­son­al in­flight pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. There are some sil­ly For one thing, it will prob­a­bly make “of­fline avail­abil­i­ty” a lit­tle less im­por­tant for some of my company’s in­ter­nal en­ter­prise ap­pli­ca­tions (NetSuite comes to mind, as does Sharepoint). Moreover, I’m in the mid­dle of two ne­go­ti­a­tions, and it’s re­fresh­ing not to go dark on them for five hours while I fly across the coun­try. Of course this ser­vice opens up all sorts of in­ter­est­ing eti­quet­te ques­tions. For ex­am­ple, my seat-mate and I ex­changed cards and “nice to meet you” emails while aloft (to­tal “send but­ton to new mail bing-bong on oth­er com­put­er” time of 15 sec­onds, in­clud­ing two Exchange servers and two VPNs—impressive). Is the pro­to­col to add each oth­er to LinkedIn af­ter the flight or dur­ing? And what about VOIP calls? (I’m pleased to re­port that GoGo says it’s block­ing VOIP, a de­ci­sion of which I’m heav­i­ly in fa­vor.)

Of course, let’s not for­get the side ben­e­fits. I’m lis­ten­ing to my “Office” Pandora stream (ze­ro hic­cups, cred­it both Pandora‘s ex­cel­lent Flash app and GoGo) and track­ing my flight lo­ca­tion:

My Flight Location:  American 177 on 9/22, in real time

My Flight Location: American 177 on 9/22, in re­al time

I’ll have to check the traf­fic back home be­fore I land….

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